Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against the military coup in front of the Myanmar Economy Bank in Yangon on February 16, 2021.
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against the military coup in front of the Myanmar Economy Bank in Yangon on February 16, 2021.
AFP

The list of casualties in the wake of the Myanmar coup continues to rise. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least least 459 people have been killed since the takeover. The victims include demonstrating civilians as well as guerilla fighters in some parts of the country, and range from teenagers to the elderly.

On the first day of February, amid a communications blackout, military leaders detained a broad cross-section of civilian government leadership, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. In their stead, the junta took over the country's administration, with power being handed over to military chief Min Aung Hlaing.

But the people of Myanmar do not seem enamored with this turn of events. For the last two months, thousands have protested against the new administration, often with deadly consequences. And while some many continue to protest, others are trying their best to flee. According to local media reports, nearly 3,000 villagers from Myanmar's southeastern Karen state had escaped to Thailand on Sunday. This came after after the army conducted air attacks on an area held by an ethnic group, and a few people are believed to have lost their lives.

At least 114 people were killed on Saturday as security forces cracked down on protests against the February 1 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government, according to the online news service Myanmar Now. The reported fatalities included several children under 16 years old. Similar tallies of the death toll were issued by other Myanmar media and researchers, far exceeding the previous highest death toll on March 14. The number of killings since the coup is now more than 420, according to multiple counts.

The US which had criticised the coup and slapped sanctions against several military officials is not pondering additional repercussions. President Joe Biden on Sunday called the military violence in Myanmar "absolutely outrageous" and said Washington was "working on" sanctions.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has condemned the Myanmar security forces' response to the Saturday protests. "I am following the worrying events in Myanmar. The escalation of violence with more than 100 civilian killings perpetrated by the military against its own people on its 'Armed Forces Day' is unacceptable. Far from celebrating, the Myanmar military has made yesterday a day of horror and of shame," Borrell said in a statement on Sunday.

Chief of Defense from various countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America condemned the bloodshed in Myanmar by the armed forces and associated security services.

Despite the grim situation however, the protests continue unabated.

(With inputs from agencies)

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